Skip to main content

Mallorcan Gold

-->

 Spanish Saffron has been grown in La Mancha for at least 1,000 years and the region is now world-famous for producing the planet’s most expensive spice. Until recently we had to import our saffron for the restaurant from the mainland but all that changed recently when the Mallorcan company “Especias Crespí” embarked on a new challenge to expand and diversify its offer.  In 2016 they planted 20,000 plants in Vilafranca and in a few weeks time they will begin to harvest the second crop. But this is only the beginning, “especias Crespí” plans to plant up to 200,000 plants in four years in 4 hectares of land especially prepared for this crop. Their goal is to produce up to 25 kilos per year and the production will be one hundred percent ecological.
 

These bright red, changing to yellow stamens have been highly prized since ancient times when they were used to perfume bathing water and as a dye. The word ‘saffron’ comes from the Arabic ‘za'faran’ meaning yellow. It is said to have anaesthetic properties and has also been used as a remedy to sleeplessness and to reduce the effects of a hangover. It's also supposed to be a good aphrodisiac and put you in a happy mood. If you consider that 85.000 flowers are needed to obtain just one kilo of the stuff, it's hardly surprising why it’s so expensive.

The Spanish make liberal use of saffron and it is used to flavour and colour many of their most famous rice dishes including paella. 
It has an unusual, slightly bitter, earthy taste and gives food a faint aroma and an intense yellow colour. It appears in fish soups and stews all along the Mediterranean and works really well with fresh mussels, scallops, red mullet and Dover sole.
Being expensive, it is obviously best used sparingly, but a little does go a long way. Try to buy fresh, good quality saffron and avoid the powdered variety if at all possible. If you put a little into a pestle and mortar and add a tiny amount of warm stock or water you can pound the saffron to intensify the taste and colour before using.




FABADA DE ALMEJAS (WHITE BEANS WITH CLAMS AND SAFFRON)


Ingredients:  serves 4

200g   dried white beans
1          large onion (finely chopped)
Crushed garlic cloves
100ml   olive oil
1tsp.     Saffron
1kl       fresh clams (cleaned and tightly closed)
400ml    fish stock
2tbsp     chopped parsley
2tbsp.    Fresh breadcrumbs
            Bay leaves
            Sprig of fresh thyme
Seasoning


Place the white beans and one garlic clove, bay leaves and fresh thyme in a large saucepan and cover them with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Place the fresh clams in a clean saucepan and cover them with the fish stock. Bring the clams to the boil and cook for 2-3 minutes until they open. Strain the clams, pass the stock through a sieve and add the liquid to the beans. Remove the clams from their shells. Crush the remaining garlic clove and saffron with the breadcrumbs to form a paste. Remove the beans from the heat and stir in the breadcrumb mixture and chopped parsley. Season to taste and serve immediately.  

COMPOTA DE MELOCOTON-AZAFRAN (PEACH AND SAFFRON COMPOTE)


Ingredients:             

1kl       ripe peaches
200g   tomatoes (de-seeded and chopped)
60g     onion (finely chopped)
60g     sultanas
250g   light brown sugar
250ml            sherry vinegar
1tbsp. Salt
½ tsp. Cinnamon
½ tsp. Ginger
½ tsp. Cayenne pepper
½tsp.  Powdered saffron

Place all the ingredients, except the peaches, in a heavy-bottomed pan and cook over a gentle flame, stirring frequently, for about 30-40 minutes until thick and syrupy.
 Blanch the peaches in boiling water for 15 seconds and refresh them in ice cold water. Peel them and cut them into large chunks.
Add the peaches to the saucepan and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the peaches start to break down. Pour into sterilised glass jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.   

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Turn the other cheek

-->
At our restaurant, we love to slow cook delicious, tender beef cheeks until they practically melt in your mouth. They are consistently popular with our guests; especially during the winter months when there is a little chill in the air. I would argue that stewing and braising are the quintessence of good home cooking. Rich comfort food with robust flavours in the shape of pot roasts, casseroles, hot pots and stews, cooked slowly to create memorable dishes that are not only delicious but also economical.
There is a myth that slow cooking is a lot of bother and takes too much time. The reality is that braising can be quick and easy to produce, leaving you time to get on with other things while the meat is cooking and tempting you with all those fabulous aromas that float around the kitchen.

How to make the Perfect chocolate brownie

Dark chocolate Brownie Ingredients. 200g unsalted butter
 200g dark chocolate 250g light brown sugar 50g peeled almonds, chopped 80g cocoa powder, sifted
 65g plain flour, sifted
 1 teaspoon baking powder
 4 large free-range eggs Zest of 1 orange
 Preheat the oven to 190°C Prepare an 18cm square, deep tin by lining with nonstick baking paper. Melt the chocolate & butter together in a bowl. Mix the eggs and sugar in a food processor. Slowly add the almonds, orange zest, baking powder, flour and cocoa.
Finally add the melted chocolate, transfer mixture to the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes. When cooked, leave to cool in the tin, before cutting into 12 bite-sized squares.

Fusion or confusion?

--> I spent a little time in the company of Silvia Anglada recently.
Her restaurant, Es Tast de na Silvia is the certified epicentre of Slow Food in the Balearic Islands, located in Cuitadella (Menorca). As I watched her cooking and explaining her philosophy, I soon realised that Silvia is incredibly passionate about the food we eat, where it comes from and how it is grown. She has been at the forefront of the slow food movement in Spain over the last few years and her restaurant promotes the use of locally produced, seasonal, biodynamic foods. She believes deeply in a reconnection with the lost rhythms of nature, the traditions of the past and working the land. She also believes in producing and eating great, local food in a relaxed, sociable way and wastes absolutely nothing from any of her ingredients in the kitchen…her delicious dessert was flavoured with juice from the “inedible” skins of broad beans!